Why It’s Important to Take Photos After an Accident
Smart phones have changed our lives in more ways than younger generations will ever realize. The set of encyclopedias that once occupied multiple shelves in a family room or library now resides in our hip pocket. The atlas once stored under the car seat has been replaced by software mapping programs using GPS technology. When driving through a new town, we quickly review internet ratings to choose a restaurant for lunch.
But perhaps just as impactful to society is the ability of everyone to instantly snap photographs and take videos. Every night on the news, we see footage that was captured on someone’s cell phone. Some images are lighthearted and funny, but many are sobering. Some help to solve crimes, and as we know, some images lead to social unrest.
But how important are photos and videos in personal injury cases? That’s the topic we will discuss in this article.
Who is interested in photos taken after an accident?
Different people may be interested, depending on the circumstances. If you have suffered injuries due to another’s negligence, photographs and video can help you immensely with your settlement or litigation efforts. For example, if you are attempting to settle a case, photographs may help persuade the opposing party’s insurance adjuster that the accident was serious and the injuries severe. At trial, photographs and video can be used as evidence to persuade a judge or jury. Sometimes, the police may be interested.
Regardless of the ultimate use of the photographs, remember that it is best to always first provide them to your own attorney for review before sharing them with someone else.
Photos and video as evidence
If you are injured in an accident, you and your attorneys will need to gather evidence to prove liability and damages. All evidence is important, but the old adage is often true - a picture can be worth a thousand words. When possible, people prefer to see things for themselves rather than to rely on another person’s words. It helps bring the accident to life.
Remember: After an accident, always attend to everyone’s health and safety first. Then, if circumstances permit, you can take photographs or video.
What are some specific reasons to take photographs or video?
- To depict the accident scene - Whether it is a motor vehicle accident, slip and fall, or other type of accident, a photograph helps to provide context to the whole story of what happened.
- Documenting the people (and vehicles in a car wreck) involved - Accident scenes are often hectic. People can come and go. In fact, sometimes important witnesses, or even people involved in an accident, leave in an effort to avoid involvement. Having photographs of people or their car tags can help lawyers and law enforcement personnel track people down to prove what happened and who is responsible.
- Illustrating damage to property - The damage to cars and other property can be documented by photographs. This can be important for recovering property damage. Moreover, pictures of smashed automobiles help people understand how serious personal injuries resulted.
- Helping experts determine liability - Sometimes no one will admit causing the accident. In an automobile crash, taking photographs of things like the damages to automobiles, the locations of automobiles, debris in or out of the roadway, skid marks, and other objects can sometimes help attorneys, police officers, and expert witnesses determine many things, such as the speeds and locations of the vehicles involved in the accident. In a slip and fall, photos may show why the premises were dangerous.
- Documenting injuries - Photographs can help to show how seriously you were injured.
- Preserving documents - If someone shows you a license or insurance information, or if you fill something out, snapping a photo can be a good way to preserve official information.
At the end of the day, it’s always better to err on the side of caution. If liability is in question or injuries occur, photo or video evidence can make all the difference in your claim.
Call with Questions
If you’ve recently been in an accident, you may be facing issues related to proving liability, proving damages, dealing with an insurance company, or understanding exactly what you are entitled to recover. The experienced Oregon personal injury lawyers at Nelson MacNeil Rayfield handle all types of injury cases. Give us a call and we’d be happy to provide a free consultation.